The Sleeping and the Dead by Ann Cleeves

A Stunning Psychological Thriller

Book blurb

In this vivid psychological suspense novel, a diving instructor makes a gruesome discovery in Cranwell Lake – the body of a teenager who has clearly been in the water for many years.

Detective Peter Porteous is called to the scene. After trailing through the missing persons files, he deduces that the corpse is Michael Grey, an enigmatic and secretive young man who was reported missing by his foster parents in 1972.

As the police investigation gets under way in Cranwell, on the other side of the country prison officer Hannah Morton is about to get the shock of her life. For Michael was her boyfriend, and she was with him the night he disappeared.

The news report that a body has been found brings back dreaded and long buried memories from her past…

My thoughts

The Sleeping and The Dead is a stand-alone novel. The main characters are Detective Peter Porteous, Detective Stout and Hannah Morton a prison librarian.

When a body is found after being in a lake for over a decade it coincides with a reunion that Hannah Morton has been avoiding for several years. This year, however, she decides to go. She is divorced so asks her daughter to go with her. Staying with an old school friend, who is now married to one of their teachers, Hannah and her daughter find out that the body is that of Michael Grey. Michael and Hannah were an item back in the day. Porteous and Stout want to speak with all Michael friends, schoolmates to help find out what happened and how he ended up in the lake.

Stout has strong feelings that a chap who was ‘known’ to have been a peadophile at the time must have been involved. There had been another child found dead around the same time Michael went missing but nothing could be proved.

Porteous is a thorough detective. He had been moved to this quieter station after having a breakdown and his superiors felt it would be less stressful. Now he’s in charge of a murder investigation.

Porteous and Stout have there differences but seem to manage to make a reasonable fist of working together and with the team. They are both meticulous and determined to resolve what happened the night Michael died.

We have what is happening from the point of view of Hannah too. She has become friendly with a colleague to whom she turns for advice. He becomes interested in the investigation and does a little sleuthing too.

It is however Porteous whose steadfast investigation, along with Stout and the team, that enables him to make the connections which lead to solving the murder.

This one-off book, first published nearly two decades ago, gives the reader a strong indication of Ann Cleeves writing ability. She’d already had the George and Molly books published. Then the DCI Vera Stanhope series of books had started to be published in 1999 and that, as we all know, has gone onto become a beloved series not only in book form but on television. With The Sleeping and The Dead it is as if the author was demonstrating just how well she could write a male lead character. However, it seems Porteous was not the one to equal Vera – a character that Ann Cleeves has written into all of our hearts. No, we would have to wait until an isolated Shetland Island Mystery series and a certain DI Perez, a few years later, for that.

I enjoyed reading this book, I quite liked Porteous and whilst there was enough about him in this book it did seem as though this could have gone on to be more than just one book if Ann Cleeves had wanted to expand his character and, of course, had in mind other cases or had wanted to venture down the cold case road.

The Sleeping and The Dead is well written, an enjoyable cold case/murder mystery and one I was glad to find and catch up with. If you’re looking for an Ann Cleeves book whilst awaiting her newest Vera or the second book in the Two Rivers books I would certainly recommend this.

Book: Purchased

I have also read and reviewed The Long Call (first in the Two Rivers series) and The Seagull (DCI Vera Stanhope series) by Ann Cleeves.

This is my 11th book in the #20BooksofSummer20 so just 9 to go! You can find out more about this challenge by popping over to Cathy’s blog – you’ll find lot’s of other wonderful book stuff there, too!


The Sleeping and the Dead was first published in the UK in 2001. The Pan paperback edition, published in September 2013, is available from Amazon or from any bookshop or library (ISBN: 978-1-4472-4129-4).

The Kindle edition is available from || Amazon UK | AmazonSmileUK and from

The ISIS audiobook, read by John Telfer, is available from the Reading House, in a choice of formats, or as an audio download from Amazon.


Ann Cleeves biography

Ann Cleeves is the author of over thirty critically acclaimed novels, and in 2017 was awarded the highest accolade in crime writing, the CWA Diamond Dagger. She is the creator of popular detectives Vera Stanhope and Jimmy Perez who can now be found on television in ITV’s Vera and BBC One’s Shetland. The TV series and the books they are based on have become international sensations, capturing the minds of millions worldwide.
Ann worked as a probation officer, bird observatory cook, and auxiliary coastguard before she started writing. She is a member of ‘Murder Squad’, working with other British northern writers to promote crime fiction. Ann is also a passionate champion for libraries and was a National Libraries Day Ambassador in 2016. Ann lives in North Tyneside near where the Vera books are set.

Book Series by Ann Cleeves


Although Ann Cleeves has completed this series of books there is news of further television series being produced. Check out Ann’s website for all the information.

The George & Molly books

Ann Cleeves’s first book was A Bird in the Hand, published back in 1986, featuring George Palmer-Jones, an elderly birdwatcher – helped by his wife, Molly. It was followed by more George and Molly murder mysteries. These have now all been brought back into print by Bello, Pan MacMillan’s digital-only imprint, and are now available as eBooks or print on demand paperbacks.

Other Books

Burial of Ghosts was first published in 2003. It has been reissued in a Pan paperback edition, published in September 2013, and is available from Amazon or from any bookshop (ISBN: 978-1-4472-4130-0).

The audio edition, read by Colleen Prendergast, is available from the Reading House in a choice of formats or from Amazon as an Audible audio download..

The Kindle edition is available from Amazon UK and from

Coming soon!

A classic country house mystery with a contemporary twist, Ann Cleeves returns with a brilliant new Vera novel to savour.

The Darkest Evening will be published:

  • In the UK by Pan MacMillan on 3rd September 2020, in hardback, Kindle and as an audiobook read by Janine Birkett;
  • and in the US by Minotaur on September 8th 2020.

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